Bible Lessons & Crafts on the Cleansing of the Temple for Preschoolers

Preschoolers connect to mature ideas through hands-on learning.

Preschoolers have short attention spans and a limited ability to grasp complex concepts. Some Bible stories lend themselves to the creative mind of a child, and others are hard to communicate. In the Bible story about the cleansing of the Temple, Jesus banishes moneychangers and salespeople from the Temple, infuriated that a house of God was being used as a marketplace. Communicate to your preschoolers the concept of the church as a pure and holy place through simple craft lessons.

1 Color a Picture

Many sources offer children's coloring pictures for specific Bible lessons. The Calvary Chapel website has one specifically for the "Cleansing of the Temple" story in which Jesus is banishing a moneychanger from the house of worship. (See Resource 2.) Preschoolers need an activity to perform while learning a concept, in order to keep their minds engaged. Coloring is a fun, lighthearted activity that young people enjoy. While coloring in pictures about this Bible story, preschoolers will be forced to think about what they're coloring. As the teacher, you can lead them through a meditation on Jesus' banishing of the moneychangers and explain why what they were doing was disrespectful in Jesus' eyes.

2 Clear the Temple

Draw a simple line picture of a Temple, then make a photocopy of it for each preschooler in your class. Next, draw small cutout pictures of different items, some that belong in the temple, and some that don't. For example, draw religious items like crosses, prayer books and an altar. Draw negative items from the Bible story such as money bags, cattle, and moneychangers selling items from their tables. Photocopy these small drawings until each preschooler has several. To begin, tell preschoolers to place all the items in the Temple. Then, on the count of three, give preschoolers one minute to take out all the items that don't belong. Explain why certain items stay and certain items should be taken out at the end of the activity.

3 The Body Is a Temple

The story "Cleansing of the Temple" stands as a reminder for Christians to treat their own bodies as temples. Teach this concept to preschoolers by having them create life-size stencils of their own bodies, which they will then "fill" with pictures of healthy items and habits. Have each preschooler lie down on a long stretch of butcher paper while you trace his outline. Cut out the outline and let each preschooler take it home to decorate. Instruct preschoolers to draw healthy items and habits inside of the stencil. Give preschoolers a paper to take home to their parents describing the objective so that they can help their child. Preschoolers can draw fruits, vegetables, scenes from exercising or playing sports, water, sunlight and other healthy things. Remind preschoolers that their bodies represent temples which they must keep clean with as much determination as Jesus did his Father's temple.

4 Role Play

Dramatic play is an effective way to teach the Bible lesson of "Cleansing the Temple" to preschoolers. In dramatic play, students feel the ideas behind a lesson through their own bodies and imaginations. After reading the story to preschoolers, assign each preschooler a role and have him reenact it through a game. Some preschoolers are moneylenders, some are salespeople and one of them acts as Jesus clearing the temple. In the nature of a traditional game of "tag," the preschooler playing Jesus is "it." His objective is to tag the moneylenders and salespeople to get them out of the temple. After the student playing Jesus tags five moneylenders, switch roles and let another student be "it."

Michael Monet has been writing professionally since 2006. At the San Francisco School of the Arts, he studied under writers Octavio Solis and Michelle Tea, performed his work in Bay Area theaters and was published in literary journals such as "Paradox," "Umlaut" and "Transfer." Monet also studied creative writing at Eugene Lang College in New York and Mills College in Oakland.